Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands (1990)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne West, Vincent Price
Extras: Director's Commentary, Composer's Commentary, Featurette, Theatrical Trailers

Tim Burton is one of those rare directors whose style is so unmistakable that you can tell within seconds of a movie that it was created by him. Together with composer Danny Elfman, they started making full length features with "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" in 1985, and they work together much like Howard Shore and David Cronenberg or even Bernard Hermann and Alfred Hitchcock. Elfman has scored almost every film directed by Tim Burton, from the hugely successful two Batman films all the way up to their latest film "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" and of course the upcoming "Sweeney Todd" film. The only film he didn't compose was "Ed Wood". That one was composed by, you guessed it, Howard Shore.

They have worked together for years, and in 1990 a film opened with another addition to this very successful creative team, a young actor from a cop show called "21 Jump Street" who was eager to break away from the Tiger Beat heartthrob image he was quickly becoming trapped in. The name of the film is "Edward Scissorhands" and not only was it the beginning of a legendary partnership between the actor and the director, it was also the film where Johnny Depp was officially introduced to the movie-going public.

From the very beginning of "Edward Scissorhands" we realize that we are about to be fully immersed into a world of complete cinema fantasy, a modern day fairy tale. The film opens with an older woman telling a bedtime story to a child. The woman is obviously Winona Ryder, who plays Kim later in the film, but earlier in life. Soon we are whisked away into the phantasmagoric land of Tim Burton where the suburbs take on new meaning and beyond them is a menacing castle way up high on a hill.

We follow Peg (Dianne West) as she strolls through the extremely colorful landscape of immaculate lawns and tries unsuccessfully to sell Avon products. Disheartened, she decides to go to the menacing mansion on the hill, where she encounters a frightening man with a scarred pale face, wild dark hair and scissors for fingers coming out from behind a dark shadow, straight out of an old horror film. Terrified, she eventually communicates with him and discovers he is nothing more than an extremely good natured and naive but lost boy and decides to help out this fragile creature by taking him home with her.

Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) has been living isolated and alone in the castle on the hill since his inventor's death; introducing him to her husband, Bill (Alan Arkin) and son at the dinner table is, like many of the scenes in this film, hilarious. Depp is so awkward with the scissors and we get to see the table from his perspective.

The entire family takes a liking to him after they realize he has a real knack for trimming bushes in fantastical ways, in the shapes of dinosaurs and even in the likeness of the family members themselves. It seems a match made in heaven, but not everyone thinks so, a neighbor quickly finds out that a visitor is among them and accuses him of being a demon from the pits of hell, there's always someone out to ruin a parade.

Soon, we are introduced to their teenaged daughter, Kim, and he falls in love. But of course, she has a menacing and jealous boyfriend named Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) who instantly is intimidated by this strange new house guest. But he is a hit with everyone else after the whole neighborhood finds different ways to take advantage of this bizarre but kindhearted and easily manipulated new resident. And some of the ways they find to use his scissors are truly funny, they use him to open beers, and as to groom their pets, not to mention cut all the women's hair in the whole neighborhood (with strange Tim Burton styled fashions of course).

Life is good for Edward Scissorhands, but soon things take a change for the worse after he is tricked into breaking into someone's home by Jim and Kim (who is becoming increasingly fond of our anti-hero). We also learn more and more about Edward and his Inventor; a father figure played by none other than the legendary Vincent Price in his last feature film role!

This film has it all, comedy, drama, fantasy and it is really a great romance, something for everyone, and it is definitely a modern day classic. If you haven't seen this film, you owe it to yourself. It is truly a wonderful fantasy, and I can't recommend it enough.

As for the picture quality, we have here a BD-25 single layer disc encoded using MPEG2 @ 18 MBPS framed at the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Let me say, this film has never looked better. The colors (although sometimes they do appear the slightest bit faded) are the first thing that stand out. This is a very colorful and vivid film, if not a bit soft. But the details that stand out on this high definition version are astounding. We notice textures in the cement of the castle and the vibrant costume design stands out like never before. The transfer is also very film like. It never once appeared overly digital in any way. It was just as if a film was being projected onto my screen. And since it is film, we do notice some grain, especially in the dark scenes. A couple of times I noticed a slight registration problems resulting in a shakiness to the image also, but it certainly didn't ruin the experience.

Some of the dark scenes perhaps don't look as detailed or balanced as they could have, but all in all this is the best it has ever looked, and while the dark scenes sometimes aren't as consistent as the rest of the film, it isn't distracting from the story. Perhaps it could have been even better, but for now this is the ultimate edition by far, and you'll be impressed.

Once again we have the sound in 4.0 but this time in DTS HD Master Lossless, so needless to say, it is a great improvement over the other editions. The music on this film from Danny Elfman is so wonderful and breathtaking and majestic, you will simply be too drawn into the experience to nitpick about surround effects or lack of an LFE. This is a very effective score and a wonderfully recorded film and all of the dialogue comes across very clean and easy to understand.

The special features are kept to a minimum, we only have one featurette that is very short (4 minutes), but fortunately we also have two commentaries. One is by director Tim Burton, who is very reserved and appears to be getting lost watching the film again. The other one is by Danny Elfman, which is wonderful because occasionally he stops talking and lets the music play without any dialogue. It is excellent to listen to, even if there were long gaps of silence on occasion.

We also have two theatrical trailers on the disc and some Blu-Ray promos that are actually in high def, so that's good.

All I really wanted was the movie itself, so I'm not disappointed, but you may want to hold onto the last 15th anniversary edition if you are a completist, as not all of those features made it over this time.

Fox did a decent job with this wonderful film, but I wouldn't be surprised if this gets visited again in an even more complete and possibly remastered edition, for now, this will do quite nicely, and all of a sudden I'm in the mood to watch another Tim Burton film, so if you'll excuse me…